T/O after 5 months - for those who don't T/O in the winter

applecart14

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Well it will be over five months since our horses came off the grass paddocks last year. Since this time my horse and the other liveries horses have been going out in pairs into the sandpit where they have been able to have a roll, buck, kick and a f**t as the YO fondly calls it.

My horse was injured at the end of December, in what the vet termed as a 'slight suspensory branch strain' as a result of some tom foolery on the end of the lunge! He's been walked and trotted in straight lines, and I am in the process of getting a video together to send to the vet to ascertain whether he is able to start canter work again. The vet has told me the prognosis is very good for a full return to work although I may be curbing his workload in respect of jumping competitions maybe a lot or maybe possibly altogether although jumping has had no bearing on this injury.

There is no swelling, he is non reactive to the tendon test squeeze the vet showed me to do, and he has his ice vibe boots on prior and following any additional work in the school to which he appears to be coping very well. We have been doing trot poles for the last week and he will break into a canter every now and again just because he feels well, not because I have asked him!

I am worried about turning him out for the first time. I think they are going into a paddock each (probably about 30m x 40m in size) before they go into the 'big field' and i am panicking a little about what to put on his legs. I will ask the YO if we can be present when they are out for the first time and I am wondering if I should bandage. Knowing what my horse is like, he will probably have his head down for the full hour stuffing his face but I suppose the danger comes in the days afterwards when the grass gets a bit sparse and he starts having a mad fit! I have tried him on the sedative stuff from the vet, before that is a derivative of mares milk and it was very good so was thinking about that again.

What do you do when your horse goes out after a long period off grass (but not necessarily in altogether)?
 

Damnation

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Maybe just treat it like an inhand grass walk to begin with? Then stealthily unclip him and sneak away?

Sometimes, it is just a case of let them off and pray :D

I'd be wary of bandages incase they get muddy/wet/rub/move. Brusing boots?
 

bluebellfreddy

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I would not put bandages, if on comes undone he would be worse off. Brushing boots if needed.

You are best just to let him get on with being out, there is not point over worrying. He will just get stressed if you are!! He has been out stretching his legs and not done anything stupid.
 

MagicMelon

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Mine live out 24/7 so cant really advise from that point of view but obviously they will be pretty nuts the first few days - I would just put sport boots or brushing boots on all legs and over-reach boots. I would never bandage for turnout in case one came loose (and I dont believe bandages actually offer any decent support from proper knocks). Can you also put a big chunk of hay/haylage out in their individual paddocks to begin with to encourage them to mill about and eat? I'd keep his paddock very small to begin with and slowly make it bigger each day if you can.
 

Kezzabell2

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when Sam went out for the first time in 4 months, he ended up going out in a brand new herd, as I had to move yards. so he was out with 2 mares, who luckily kept their distance for the first couple of weeks! I put brushing boots on him becuase I was scared he'd get kicked but the big mare was more interested in keeping the small one away from him, so I never had any issues! our herds are only 2-4 horses, so they tend to not have many issues!! now we mainly have same sex herds too, which is much better!
 

ester

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TBH I would rather they were in a larger area than hooleying in a 30x40 and constantly skidding to turn.
 

Merlod

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Personally, I’d leave him in an extra day after the others on the yard have been turned out. Then turn yours out when the others are settled, maybe just hand graze the first day then turn out with a calmer the next. Though, I can’t help but think the lack of turnout may have put you in this situation in the first place – as said above only going out for a few mins a day for almost half the year to hooley around in a small area isn’t ideal.
 

Wagtail

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I had a horse here who hadn't been out for two years because his owner was terrified of him getting hurt. I persuaded her to turn him out when he came here and I did it by clipping a lunge line on him and taking him out into a half acre paddock in hand. Then I gradually gave him more line. He didn't jump about as much as I expected him to and I unclipped him after only five minutes. He was fine. I think the grass that he'd barely tasted in two years was a good distraction. He had a good canter about, but nothing too horrendous.
 

only_me

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I'd use brushing and overreach boots, and turn out before or after the rest of yard have gone out.
Can you work him before he goes out?
 

Antw23uk

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I would be inclined to boot up (not bandage) and put some overreach boots on. Work him first and keep him hungry so he has had the edge taken off him with the work and his mind is on food from being hungry. Try not to over think it and go with the flow. Good luck.
 

hypopit

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Agree to turn him out hungry, I found Zylkene to be very good for when I needed to turn out my hot headed youngster from 6 weeks box rest. Worked a treat on him.
 

AdorableAlice

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Two hour hack and acp. I would be looking for somewhere else to keep him with winter grazing for 2016/17 if at all possible.
 

pippixox

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i also agree I would actually prefer a larger area- safe to pick up speed with space to turn instead of picking up speed and having to do 'hand-brake turns'.

if hungry and he hasn't had grass in a long time, he will probably settle to eat very quickly!

just risk it in my opinion.
 

gunnergundog

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Personally, I wouldn't turn the horse out at all at the moment as you are currently only walking and trotting in straight lines. I would wait until the vet had given me the go-ahead to commence cantering and then get a fair bit of canter work under my belt before turning him out.

Then, as others above have suggested: no feed, exercise, sedate, calm companion etc etc.
 

Tiddlypom

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Did you get his ACTH levels tested?

Normally, I'd agree with turning him out tired (after a good long hack, maybe) and hungry, so all he will want to do is scoff the grass. Gorging on grass will not be a good idea if he does have untreated Cushings', due to the lami risk.
 

applecart14

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Did you get his ACTH levels tested?

Normally, I'd agree with turning him out tired (after a good long hack, maybe) and hungry, so all he will want to do is scoff the grass. Gorging on grass will not be a good idea if he does have untreated Cushings', due to the lami risk.

No I didn't get his levels checked. I doubt very much he has cushings especially considering the mass of people on this forum who have also said there horses have been very quiet and lacking in energy lately. I said I was going to try him on a different feeding regime first. Judging by the way he's been throwing himself around the sand pit yesterday I think he is just a bit down.
 

applecart14

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I'd use brushing and overreach boots, and turn out before or after the rest of yard have gone out.
Can you work him before he goes out?
As they are only going out for an hour for the first couple of days and will be turned out at seven following their breakfast it would be very difficult to ride before hand at the weekend and impossible for me to do so on a weekday as I have to be at work half an hour away at 7.15am.

For those that have suggested an alternative yard because of the grazing situation - I don't know how my horse would cope with a deep, wet muddy field with his problems. Whilst I have thought about it before now, the current yard is a good situation for his particular conditions. But of course for a horse that is extremely colic prone, it is a nightmare for me when I do eventually turn him out on grazing. He would not have recovered from injury as well as he has done if it were not for the sandpit turnout that we have.
 
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ester

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We don't all have deep wet muddy fields in winter!

And it does mean no one does any throwing around of themselves bar the odd canter up the hill here. Turnout just isn't really that exciting and that's the best way for it to be. But then I also can't imagine having that little control over my horse's regime. Ours will move to their summer grazing this weekend and he'll go out whatever time I want, though in his case fed and muzzled :p.
 

conniegirl

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we dont have any mud at all and have had very little all winter despite being on low lying flat clay fields.
Well cared for grazing will not get knee deep in mud! at worst we have had a bit of poaching round the gate ways but nothing horrendous.
Ours have been out everyday except christmas day and they have now been out 24/7 for 3 weeks.

When my lad went back out after 6 months of box rest he had over reach boots and premier equine sports medicine boots on. he was put out with a quiet and sensible older horse.
 

ester

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Ignore the ponies, but that is our winter field behind, and gateway to it, on clay, on the somerset levels!
163655_10150372292350438_2648364_n.jpg

and again
18568_388534330437_5480046_n.jpg
 

_GG_

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If a yard is managed correctly, there should only be mud in the gateways. Fields get bad because if they flood, they don't get any drainage put in (actually pretty straightforward and not expensive to get a mole plough put through every 4-5 years) or because too many horses are put on too little land.

Not everyone is lucky as I am to have so much land available to me, but my liveries are...because I run this place to only allow a maximum amount of horses. They've hardly even touched the hay that gets put out for them as they never run out of grass.

It's not all luck actually, there are yards out there all over the country like this, you just have to make a decision to possibly make compromises in your own life (more expense or a longer commute) to find it, but if it's better for the horse, why not?

That said, the second picture is of a horse owned by an International Grand Prix rider and he took to 24/7 turnout and herd life in about 30 minutes. Any horse can get used to grass livery, so long as a place has facilities for emergency use or in times of really bad weather, it can be cheaper than a normal yard. Horses have very basic needs and anything recovering from injury does well to be out all the time, building strength slowly with far less likelihood of hooning about and further injuring themselves.

I realise I am fortunate with having found this place, but I've been on smaller yards in the past and in the end, after my horses having to have 3 months with just occasional turnout in a 20x40 arena, I moved them to a field, put up a old hay windbreak and they were happier than they had ever been within about 3 days.

These have all been taken this winter...in the worst of it.

12963695_10154752069282892_8517005302015899971_n_zpsoo1iaqej.jpg

12961655_10154752070032892_4360057799205395420_n_zpsgpc7cagb.jpg

9174_10154487301862892_2525400050215928479_n_zpstaaahu8u.jpg

12592670_10154526295557892_4261542741299712671_n_zpswsxiefcq.jpg
 

applecart14

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Look I am not going to argue the toss about grazing. Ester you are probably able to chuck your horse out 'anytime you want' because you have more than one horse of your own. Mine has to be with something next to it. We have seven liveries and nine horses. Only five of those will be on the grass. We have 12 acres. I am not the yard owner. I have no say about who goes where, when, or how. I have to follow what I am asked to do. The fields have no grass on them yet. It is still too wet. This is what I am told.

when you are on a livery yard you often have no control.
 

conniegirl

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Look I am not going to argue the toss about grazing. Ester you are probably able to chuck your horse out 'anytime you want' because you have more than one horse of your own. Mine has to be with something next to it. We have seven liveries and nine horses. Only five of those will be on the grass. We have 12 acres. I am not the yard owner. I have no say about who goes where, when, or how. I have to follow what I am asked to do. The fields have no grass on them yet. It is still too wet. This is what I am told.

when you are on a livery yard you often have no control.

what utter rot about no grass!
Sorry but I would be moving my horse ASAP, it is not healthy for him to only have a very limited amount of time on a small sand surface. You do have control, you can always move to more suitable yards who dont overstock thier fields.
 

JFTDWS

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I can't imagine routinely not turning out for 5 months of the year. I'm also amazed that rested grazing has no grass - I have loads on my rested field (clay, poor drainage), and some on my well-grazed all winter fields. And I'm far from under-stocked.

In terms of soft tissue, it really is an awful way to keep horses. I would move and compromise elsewhere, rather than take these sorts of risks.
 

eggs

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leaving aside the rights and wrongs of not turning out onto fields during winter ....

If I have had a horse on box rest for any length of time I first start by taking them out into a very small enclosed field on a lunge line to let them graze. When it is time to turn them out I prefer to give them some Sedalin beforehand and turn them out on their own.
 

applecart14

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There is no where else to move to even if I wished to leave. To move somewhere in the area (where the hacking is very quiet) with individual turnout, a decent ménage surface, assisted livery, trailer parking and storage for shavings is near impossible. I know this because when I was forced to move from the yard I was at for ten years the only yard that was suitable for my horses needs at the time was where I now am.

The fields may be drying up now but this has not been the case for the last few months on many yards that I know of and many horses have been wallowing in mud, which is hardly conducive to a suspensory branch strain. We have twelve acres but only half of that is used for grazing, the rest is set aside for hay, so it needs looking after and using only when those conditions dictate that .

I just wanted some suggestions for how to turn my horse out safely, not to be criticised for the way I keep my horse. He is ridden nearly every night so its not like he doesn't get any exercise and has two hours turnout daily, sometimes if I don't ride he goes out in the sandpit in the evening after work. He has a small but regular intake of grass when I hack him out and he was on ready grass in the winter, which I have restarted again in anticipation for turnout due to his potential for colic when introduced back to grass.

No doubt had I turned my horse on a muddy field with a suspensory strain and it had been made worse I would have been slagged off for that too :(

I really can't win.
 
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